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Joined 2 years, 1 month ago

Science fiction and fantasy. Astronomical Data Scientist at STScI/MAST in Baltimore. Opinions are my own. Follow me on Mastodon at Longer reviews on my blog:

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2024 Reading Goal

58% complete! Strakul has read 7 of 12 books.

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reviewed The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (Great Cities, #1)

N. K. Jemisin: The City We Became (Hardcover, 2020, Orbit) 4 stars

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city.

Every city has …

Explosively creative & often funny.

5 stars

New York comes alive, through six human avatars, but something in the multiverse isn't happy. Explosively creative & often funny. Shares a deep love for the city & its people. Clever use of identity politics and gentrification.

reviewed Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Children of Time, #1)

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Time (Paperback, 2018, Orbit) 4 stars

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a …

A modern, classic sci-fi tale

5 stars

This was a great book and I see why it has won awards and is generally regarded in a positive light. While the characters are basic, they are nonetheless interesting and the plot is straightforward enough to keep the focus on the setting. The setting is excellent and the way the two societies, one human, one spider, is explored is clever. I enjoyed both viewpoints and wish we had gotten more time after they merged together, but maybe that is a story for the second novel? I look forward to reading the other novels in this series and finding out.

For a full review, check out my blog:

Ernest Cline: Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1) (Paperback, 2011, Crown Publishers) 4 stars

Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction novel, and the debut novel of American …

80s nostalgia with a clever concept, but weak narrative

3 stars

Overall this was a fun read. The world itself is quite dystopian, but the OASIS is incredible. It feels like a very natural evolution of today's online society, for better or worse. Some of the plot can feel a little sluggish with the exposition and the slowdown in the second arc of the book, but it has a good payoff at the end. The characters are OK, but not developed as well as the focus is almost solely on the main character Parzival and his obsession with the 80s, the hunt, and Art3mis. I think the concept behind this (and the nostalgia) was pretty good, though the narrative could have been better, both in terms of characters and plot.

For a full review, check out my blog:

reviewed The Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham (Long Price Quartet, #4)

Daniel Abraham: The Price of Spring (2009, Tor) 4 stars

Fifteen years have passed since the devastating war between the Galt Empire and the cities …

A fitting conclusion to this 4-book series

5 stars

The final book of the Long Price Quartet. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense the direction this book took, but at the end of the 3rd one I wasn't sure what could come next. Overall a fitting conclusion to the series.

For a spoiler-free review of the full series, check out my blog:

reviewed An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham (Long Price Quartet, #3)

Daniel Abraham: An Autumn War (Hardcover, 2008, Tor Books) 5 stars

Daniel Abraham delighted fantasy readers with his brilliantly original and engaging first novel, and in …

The culmination of may plot threads, what could the 4th book be about?

5 stars

The 3rd of the 4 books in the Long Price Quartet and my favorite thus far. Lots of complex character interactions going on and the culmination of a lot of plot threads that have been teased in the prior two books. I honestly don't know what the 4th one could be about, if it's not a long epilogue...

reviewed A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham (Long Price Quartet, #2)

Daniel Abraham delighted fantasy readers with his brilliant, original, and engaging first novel, A Shadow …

Continuing the Quartet with betrayal and intrigue

4 stars

This is the second book in the Long Price Quartet and a worthy successor to the first. I'll be holding out for my complete review until I finish the four books, but this was enjoyable on its own. I was surprised by the large time jump between the first and the second, but pleased that many of the same characters reappear. Some similar themes are explored in this one, primarily the nature of relationships and family, though absent are the themes of humanity and slavery. There is a bit more intrigue and politics in this one, something is shaking up and I wonder what the next two books will focus on.